South Burlington teachers call for strike

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SOUTH BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) South Burlington teachers have voted to go on strike next week.

Union officials made the announcement late Friday afternoon that they will go on strike Wed., Oct. 4, if no agreement is reached.

Negotiations between teachers and the school board broke off Friday morning around 1 a.m.

The teachers are opposed to the imposed contract the school board approved about four weeks ago. They said the problem can be solved at the negotiating table, though there are no meeting set as of yet.

Noah Everitt of the South Burlington Education Association said the imposed working conditions remove the clear career path for teachers.

"With more and more communities able to reach settlement, similar to the proposals offered by the SBA, why cannot this happen here? We have the guidance of a neutral fact finder's report, which suggests the framework for settlement to be found. A settlement which maintains a career path for the teachers of South Burlington," Everitt said.

In a statement, school board officials said they were disappointed by the union vote: "Rather than disrupting the school year for our students and parents, the union should reconsider the concessions the Board made last night, return to the table, and get serious about negotiating a two-year agreement."

Thursday night, the board and teachers agreed on how to calculate raises. It will be done using a percentage rather than a fixed dollar amount. They also agreed on health care costs. The district will pick up 80 percent. Teachers are responsible for 20 percent.

But still in dispute-- the amount of those raises. The contract imposed by the board includes a 2.17 percent raise. Teachers say that's not high enough but refused to tell us what they are asking for.

The strike announcement comes just a week after Burlington teachers ratified their contract after a four-day strike.